For fifteen hard-working small business account representatives in the merchant services industry, competition was (and continues to be) fierce in the drive to grow their business unit and retain existing clients. Their clients have no shortage of merchant services providers seeking their business. It’s rare for a small business to go a week without some new mail offer, in-person sales visit or phone call from a competing credit card processing company.
Even more amazing than all this marketing noise is the fact that a lot of these competing companies employ — let’s just say it — deceptive sales practices to try and get new clients and meet their quotas. Hidden annual fees, outrageous charges for processing supplies and outdated equipment, and not disclosing Visa / MasterCard industry surcharges are common tactics to make your offering appear better than the competition.
Unfortunately, when business owners discover these hidden fees and surcharges, they’re often locked into a two or three year contract with hefty early termination fees. Do you “bite the bullet” and pay a huge fee to get out of the contract or stick it out and endure horrible customer service?
Mike Sweeney saw the challenges he and his teammates were going through to keep their clients happy. As a business-to-business financial services specialist, he understood that the best way to retain clients and keep the bank profitable was three-fold:
- Educate clients about all of the fees they pay for credit card processing services
- Expose deceptive practices by competitors
- Provide several pricing options for clients to choose from, helping them feel in control of their costs
To get started, Mike collected every pricing tool, phone call script and form letter currently in use by the bank’s small business account managers. Up to now the representatives had been sharing various tools and scripts among themselves, with no standardized tools in place.
He then used his copywriting and computer skills to revamp the Microsoft Excel pricing model, write revised telephone scripts and write new form emails the clients would see. Everything was double-checked for accuracy by his team lead so that the bank kept each account profitable while giving clients the most competitive deal they could.
With the approval of his team leader, Mike quietly started using these new tools in his phone calls and emails with clients, with great success. When a client would counter him on the phone with a competing offer, Mike was able to quickly and accurately find the holes in the proposal and present his own offer in almost half the time it used to take. Soon fellow reps sitting near him were asking to use his tools after overhearing his conversations, and they were eventually rolled out to the whole team as management realized what was happening.
Mike’s work even caused the regional market manager (his manager’s manager) to send an unsolicited thank you note after a critical retention effort for a huge client, saying,
“Mike, thank you so much for taking care of our client. Because of dedicated people like you, we have maintained a relationship with this client for over seventeen years. Thank you for all your efforts, I really appreciate it.”